Tips on Restoring Your Pre-Pregnancy Body
For all the joys that motherhood brings, pregnancy can also change a woman's body in ways that can be physically and emotionally disorienting.
Credit: Growing Your Baby
What Can a "Mommy Makeover" Correct?
When the breasts engorge with milk, the skin can be stretched out so much that it loses elasticity. After breastfeeding, the excess overstretched breast skin can lead to a sagging breast that appears flat and empty at the top with all the breast tissue at the bottom. Several different procedures may be used to restore the appearance of the breasts:
A mastopexy or breast lift will not change the size of the breasts but will remove the excess skin and reposition the nipple-areola complex higher on the breast mound and/or move the breast tissue itself higher on the chest wall to recreate a perkier breast.
Some women are left with larger breasts even after the milk ducts have involuted. Large breasts may be uncomfortable or cause back, neck or arm pain, headaches, or a rash under the breasts. Reduction mammoplasty or breast reduction removes excess tissue and skin and positions the breast tissue higher on the chest wall.
After the breasts are no longer filled with milk, the breasts may appear smaller than they were before the pregnancy. For women who would like larger breasts, augmentation mammoplasty or breast augmentation places a saline or silicone gel implant under the breast tissue to increase the size of the breast and fill up the upper portion of the breast.
"A 'mommy makeover' can help a woman feel stronger and more like herself after pregnancy," says Dr. Chen. "But no one should rush into surgery without careful consideration." Here are Dr. Chen's guidelines for deciding when a "mommy makeover" is advisable and will produce the best results:
- Be in good health and at your goal weight. Don't use surgery as a shortcut to weight loss.
- Exhaust the possibility of exercise correcting the problem. Don't use surgery to achieve what can be accomplished with exercise.
- It's best to defer surgery until your family is complete. A subsequent pregnancy can undo the results of a "mommy makeover."
- Have realistic goals and expectations for the outcome of surgery.
- Make sure you have the needed support for your recovery period.
"A 'mommy makeover' can address some of the changes caused by pregnancy and motherhood," Dr. Chen concludes. "Along with a healthy lifestyle, restoring a woman's body after pregnancy can bring back a new mother's physical and emotional well-being."